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Focus! Keeping Your Eyes on Jesus in a Near-Sighted, Distracted World! (The Blind Man in John 9 – Part 15)

With these verses our study of this most extensively described miracle in all of the Bible comes to a close. The man born blind has been healed. He has been tossed out of the synagogue. He has been insulted and excommunicated. All that remains is a proverbial “moral of the story.”

In this series of blog posts on FOCUS I want to examine my own vision and ask if my spiritual eyesight is getting dim, distracted, or damaged by choices I make. We will be looking at a number of key biblical passages which emphasize this sense of sight. I am particularly looking forward to pondering the healing miracles which turned blind people into sighted people.

Jesus’ Mission: There are several places where Jesus declares why He came. For example, in John 10:10 Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” In John 12:47 Jesus says, ““If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.” However, here at the end of this great miracle, Jesus says, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” (v. 39).

His coming, according to this text, involves two purposes: (1) “so that the blind will see” (which has happened in two ways to the man born blind), and (2) so that “those who see will become blind.” The blindness of the religious leaders of Israel could not have been made plainer than here in the story of this healing.

An Outraged Question: Some of the Pharisees heard Jesus say this and they respond, “What? Are we blind too?” (v. 40). The Greek reads: 40 ἤκουσαν ἐκ τῶν Φαρισαίων ταῦτα οἱ μετ’ αὐτοῦ ὄντες, καὶ εἶπον αὐτῷ· Μὴ καὶ ἡμεῖς τυφλοί ἐσμεν; Literally, this sentence is translated as: “The ones from the Pharisees who were being with him (presumably Jesus) heard these things, and said to him: ‘Surely we also ourselves are not blind men, are we?”

The way they word their question contains that negative we touched on before in one of our posts. What they are really asking is this: “Surely we are not blind too, are we?” Their question is one of outrage, thinking that Jesus is somehow lumping them in with the man who, in their opinion, was “steeped in sin at birth.” Their question, in the way it was worded, expected a negative answer. They expected Jesus to respond with something like, “No! Not at all. I’m certainly not implying that you Pharisees are blind!”

It is interesting that their question implies that the man born blind is still blind! They refuse to acknowledge that he has been healed.

Jesus’ Authoritative Conclusion: The last statement in this miracle story is Jesus’ response to these Pharisees. He says, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains” (v. 41). So this miracle account is about much more than a man born blind receiving his physical sight. This story is about sin and guilt and claiming to see and actually being blind.

I believe what Jesus is saying to these religious leaders is quite stark and direct: “If you were blind — and you’re not! — you would have an excuse for your refusal to believe in me. The fact is, you claim you can see, but you don’t see your own guilt which is right in front of you!”

By the way, this miracle is referred to once more in the gospel of John. In the very next chapter the Jews accuse Jesus of being demon-possessed and some respond, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?” (Jn. 10)

Today’s Challenge: Would you say that your spiritual blindness has been healed by the Lord Jesus? If so, will you pray that God would lead you and me to more clearly FOCUS on Him and what He wants to do in and through us?

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2021 in focus

 

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Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) Part 20

screen-shot-2017-03-06-at-5-25-29-amClaiming to be a disciple of Moses was one thing.  Jesus has just told them in John 5 that theirs was a mere claim.  They weren’t really disciples of Moses.

They then claim to have certain knowledge about God speaking to Moses.  This they knew.  What they didn’t know was where “this fellow” came from!  And these were the leaders responsible for the spiritual safety of the people of Israel!

The ignorance of the man born blind (how he was healed) is matched by the ignorance of the religious leaders (regarding the identity of Jesus).  That kind of stalemate gave the man born blind an opportunity to perhaps exit the conversation.  But “in for a dime, in for a shekel,” as they say.  So he attacks!

“Now that is remarkable!  You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes.”  Isn’t the man born blind really saying, “You’ve failed the geography test — which was a small matter — how in the world can you pass the miraculous one?”  And I think he used his brand new eyes to stare them down one by one.

What do you and I KNOW?  I mean, really?  We know that God loves us.  We know that He’s done something about our sin.  And we know that He is in the sight-giving business.  But only to those who recognize their own blindness and want it taken away.  (to be continued)

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2017 in discipleship

 

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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 119): Part 3

ג Gimel

17 Be good to your servant while I live,screen-shot-2016-11-11-at-5-40-05-am
    that I may obey your word.
18 Open my eyes that I may see
    wonderful things in your law.
19 I am a stranger on earth;
    do not hide your commands from me.
20 My soul is consumed with longing
    for your laws at all times.
21 You rebuke the arrogant, who are accursed,
    those who stray from your commands.
22 Remove from me their scorn and contempt,
    for I keep your statutes.
23 Though rulers sit together and slander me,
    your servant will meditate on your decrees.
24 Your statutes are my delight;
    they are my counselors.

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2017 in spiritual vision

 

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Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) (Part 1)

screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-9-05-43-amThis miracle, perhaps the most extended coverage of a miracle in the Bible, has fascinated me for years.  I’ve had the joy of going through this entire ninth chapter of John with several groups of lifers in CIU’s prison initiative.

There is so much in this story that deserves our attention.  We notice in verse 1 that Jesus sees “a man blind from birth.”  How did He know the man was blind from birth? Of course, as God the Son He knew everything.  But from a human point of view, how did He know?

It’s possible that the disciples were told by others that the man was born blind.  I think it likely that this man, who had to live the life of a beggar, might have had a particular begging cry, something like, “BORN BLIND!  I WAS BORN BLIND!  Please help me!”

When you think about tragedies in life, being born blind has got to be toward the top of the list.  But such tragedies do not take God by surprise.  In fact, we read in Exodus 4 (when Moses is making his excuses that he is not eloquent enough to speak to Pharaoh): “11 The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings screen-shot-2017-02-14-at-6-19-21-amtheir mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

What tragedy have you experienced in your life?  As the old hymn says, “Jesus knows all about your sorrows . . .”  Nothing takes the Lord by surprise.  And He SEES you in your difficulty. (to be continued)

 

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2017 in man born blind

 

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The Healing of the Man Born Blind

Friends:

This is something I wrote a few years ago.  One of my all-time favorite passages of Scripture is the story of the man born blind in John 9.  I believe that account is the longest account of a miracle — and its aftermath — in all of the Bible.

Here is my fictionalized version of this story.  Please let me know what you think of it.

MAN BORN BLIND

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2013 in blindness

 

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